April 08, 2020
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New mobile app is the latest tool to help Mainers fight opioid overdoses

Community Author: University of Maine
Post Date:

AUGUSTA — Maine’s Office of Behavioral Health, in collaboration with the University of Maine, has released a free mobile app that provides key information to help reduce deaths from opioid overdoses.

 

The app, OD-ME, contains naloxone administration instructions for both intranasal Narcan and intramuscular naloxone, and step-by-step audio and visual guidance on how to perform rescue breathing. The app, available through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store, also allows a user to dial 911 for emergency assistance and 211 for additional resources.

 

The app was developed by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and the Virtual Environment and Multimodal Interaction (VEMI) Laboratory at the University of Maine, and is published by the University of Maine System. The goal of the app is to provide a free and easily accessible emergency response tool primarily aimed at educating active bystanders. Bystanders following instructions on the app could intercede on behalf of a person experiencing an opioid overdose.

 

“The app is not meant to be a stand-in for formal naloxone use training,” says Alexander Rezk, a research assistant at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center who was involved in the development. “Rather, it is a low-barrier, easy-to-use emergency response and educational tool for those who want to be prepared.”

 

The app complements the state’s public outreach campaign, haveitonhand.com, regarding naloxone distribution and usage. Most opioid overdoses are accidental, and a bystander friend or family member could use the mobile application to recognize and confirm the signs of an overdose. If they have naloxone on hand, the app can walk them through the process of administering the life-saving medication.

 

“An important part of the Governor’s Executive Order on Opioid Response is providing education and training to friends and family of those who are at risk of overdose,” says Marcella Sorg, research professor at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center who led the app development. “This app makes naloxone administration instructions easier to get into the hands of Mainers than ever before.”

 

Information about obtaining naloxone is available by calling 211, or submitting a request at maine.gov/dhhs/samhs/forms.shtml.